It’s hard to imagine that, just a few short years ago, we were (for the most part) content to drink anything put in front of us labelled a ‘cappuccino’, not to mention the horror of bog-standard filter coffee. Happily we’ve become more educated and picky about our daily brew, thanks in no small part to a bunch of dedicated, knowledgeable and often downright fanatic coffee gurus who have spread the good word among us. With a handful of specialist coffee roasters popping up around Cape Town, life for the local enthusiast has become a whole lot, um, perkier. This is our pick of six of the best cult coffee houses…
28 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town, 021-421-1100, www.originroasting.co.za
Its name hints at the rise of single-origin coffee as a global phenomenon, but also stakes out this atmospheric spot as one of the true originals on the city’s coffee-roasting scene. Baristas are superbly trained, and waiters will spell out a litany of choices. We say opt for the Origin House Blend or a single origin (SO) of the day, along with speciality pastries like pasteis de nata and choc croissants.
Pay up: espresso – R16; flat white – R20; latte – R21 (a ‘Cup of Excellence’ will cost you an extra R10)
Espresso Lab Microroasters
The Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock, 021-447-0845, www.espressolabmicroroasters.com
With its cool minimalist aesthetic (and a suitably cool patronage), this ‘laboratory’ puts the best beans to the test, punting award-winning blends from all over the world. Here it’s all about the coffee – don’t expect muffins and stuff that might interfere with the purist experience! Don’t leave without a few bags of beans.
Pay up: espresso – R14; café latte – R18; flat white – R16
Corner Buitengracht and Somerset Roads, Green Point, www.truthcoffee.com
We just love the clever musings on the ‘cult’ of the bean from these coffee aficionados, whose city HQ is as pared-down stylish as their sleek packaging. Do check out their website for instant enlightenment! Of the excellent house blend – Resurrection – expect a creamy caramel flavoured artisanal coffee. They serve tasty nibbles like bagels and speciality chocolate and almond mini-cakes (gluten free), all from local bakery hmm…
Pay up: espresso – R14; café latte – R18
Deluxe Coffee Works
25 Church Street, Cape Town, 082-681-5740, www.deluxecoffeeworks.com
It’s not much bigger than a hole in the wall, but this inner city spot is a favourite among addicts of the good stuff, the real deal, when it comes to coffee – you’ll have to wait patiently for a seat at the window or at the bar (it’s worth it), but there’s lots of eye-candy in the form of people-watching to add to the experience. There’s nothing but coffee here, so don’t expect any sweet treats. Specialising strictly in Arabica coffee, the house coffee is a blend of Brazilian, Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans (a 1kg bag will set you back R160).
Pay up: Americano – R12; café latte – R15
Haas Coffee Collective
Rose Street, Cape Town, www.haascollective.com
We’re constantly tickled by the friendly greeting of ‘haas’it my bru’ that pops up in our Twitter feeds (follow @haascoffee) from this enthusiastic gang of coffee lovers. Stop by even on a Sunday (when the rest of town is dead) to sample their single origin coffees – including their signature, and exclusive, Kopi Luwak— made from civet droppings! (You might remember it from the Jack Nicholson film, The Bucket List – or ask Haas for the full fascinating story!) Snack on delicious sandwiches and pastries before browsing the wonderful shop for great décor finds. Also check out their Robertson partners, Strictly Coffee, another boutique coffee roaster well worth a visit. Love the name!
Pay up: Americano – R15; Cappuccino – R18; Kopi Luwak – R80 (per cup)
New on the scene, these guys are really clued up when it comes to coffee. Their witty website and blog guarantee hours of reading pleasure, while their cool design sensibility rocks! They source single origin and estate coffees from South and Central America, Africa and Asia, ‘micro-roasting each to best present its unique personality’. And boy is it good! Rosetta deliver beans twice weekly in Cape Town, free of charge, or pop into Woodstock’s The Kitchen – a favourite HL lunch spot – to enjoy a freshly brewed cup of Rosetta’s Wild Grown Limu (hopefully with a slice of The Kitchen’s chef-patron Karen Dudley’s famous Dolly Parton Cake).
Pay up: coffee beans direct from Rosetta, starting from R65 (250g)